Consumer-grade digital fabrication such as 3D printing is on the rise, and we believe it can be leveraged to great benefit in the arena of special education. Although 3D printing is beginning to infiltrate mainstream education, little to no research has explored 3D printing in the context of students with special support needs. We present a formative study exploring the use of 3D printing at three locations serving populations with varying ability, including individuals with cognitive, motor, and visual impairments. We found that 3D design and printing performs three functions in special education: developing 3D design and printing skills encourages STEM engagement; 3D printing can support the creation of educational aids for providing accessible curriculum content; and 3D printing can be used to create custom adaptive devices. In addition to providing opportunities to students, faculty, and caregivers in their efforts to integrate 3D printing in special education settings, our investigation also revealed several concerns and challenges. We present our investigation at three diverse sites as a case study of 3D printing in the realm of special education, discuss obstacles to efficient 3D printing in this context, and offer suggestions for designers and technologists.